A couple of years ago, I read an interesting article online about a company called Apeel Sciences. They created an all-natural plant preservative that drastically increases the shelf life of produce.
In that same article I also read that Apeel has a cool initiative where they apply the all-natural preservative on produce going to countries in need of assistance with food spoilage.
I have the utmost respect for companies that incorporate charity work into their business, so I looked Apeel up and read all about them. I even went to their booth to speak to them at a show I went too, PMA Fresh, in 2018 because I was so intrigued by their product. (For the record, Columbus does not work with Apeel, this story was just too cool not to share!)
Anyway—back to the product. The idea is that the preservative is applied to produce and acts as a whole new peel or coating. That new "skin" prevents oxidation and decreases water loss drastically, to increase shelf life up to 40%.
About half of food that's grown ends up in a landfill as a result of spoilage, according to Apeel. We don’t necessarily have a problem growing the volume of food needed to feed people, but we do have a problem making sure that food doesn’t spoil.
This product could have a drastic impact in the market across both technology and the supply chain.
In the produce industry, planning can be difficult because most items have a short shelf life. This is especially true when you take into consideration the impact of weather and yields.
Industry experts plan to the best of their ability to forecast and meet demand, but often spot market purchases are made to reconcile the difference between product availability and actual supply and demand.
Apeel Sciences offers the ability for companies to extend shelf life of their produce, which means that companies can have a better handle over the supply chain in both the short and long term.
This essentially allows for more “wiggle” room, or room for error, regarding forecasting, supply and demand. While nothing can eliminate the impact of weather and other produce-specific variables on supply, the extension of shelf life—by even a small margin—opens up more effective cost-saving inventory management for producers.
And why is this so exciting to me? Well, my whole job revolves around helping companies, especially food companies, create the most efficient supply chain possible with the use of technology. And while ERP technology (and the like) is my wheelhouse, I can't help but give a shout out to the other food technologies out there changing the game. Nice work, Apeel!
Co-authored by Jim Bresler